The profound experiences of foreign travel have always played a significant role in the development of artists. There is something about the strangeness of a place and the experience of another culture that stimulates the senses and inspires creation. One such artist famous for his travels and the resulting art that he produced was 19th-century Post-Impressionist painter, Paul Gauguin whose bold experimentations with color and style led to the development of modern art.
Italian artist Mario Prencipe is your modern day “artist traveler,” who has on his own, been traveling to nearly 20 countries in the last two decades -- around Europe, Africa, South America, Russia, China, India, and now the Philippines – where he has been exhibiting his works in various galleries and museums. His works, mostly abstract are a culmination and combination of impressions from the places he has been to and the new knowledge that he picks up along the way.
Born in 1965 and raised in Sesto San Giovanni, a metropolitan area located in the province of Milan in Italy, the artist, who has based himself in southern Portugal since the year 2000 decided to embark on his numerous journeys – exploring and witnessing other cultures and belief systems while seeking to enrich his understanding of himself and his place in the world as he pursues his artmaking.
Now on view until February 8, 2014 at the Avellana Art Gallery, Prencipe exhibits about 15 abstract works in the show “Casual and Causal” that seeks to express the idea that human intervention should not disturb the innate harmony and beauty of nature--- just like his quiet presence in the foreign lands he goes to. Using washed down colorful acrylics, the artist would gently move the surface of the canvas to create random forms. When these dry up, he then traces some of the natural lines with a thin application of ink as he highlights selected elements of the composition.
The collection, mostly “Untitled” tries to capture the local color and geographic formations of the various lands he visits as he creates compositions of structures that merge and overlap akin to a bird’s eye view of parcels of agricultural plots laid out casually on a geographical plain. Inspired by the origins of geometry in ancient Egypt that began with the distribution of land, the artist interprets these images in various shades of color not unlike the colorful lands that apply agricultural biodiversity.
“Everything is a source of inspiration – from the most sophisticated philosophical concept to a simple spot on the wall, ” says artist Mario Prencipe, this time finding inspiration in geography.
When he arrived in Manila, he requested his hosts to take him to a typical town where he can absorb its distinct local color which he can add to his visual storage which one day can find their way into his canvasses.
“I usually visit popular neighborhoods to see the real life of people,” commented the painter as he explained that those sceneries are his inspiration tools.
Always in search of new horizons, lands that hold their own customs and traditions, exotic cultures that speak of diverse histories and gods, Prencipe becomes an artist/anthropologist in his quest for a deeper understanding of human civilization that give more meaning to his work.
Prencipe’s works can also be found in private and public collections such as the Museum of the City, in Buenos Aires, Argentinia; the National Gallery in San José, Costa Rica; the National Museum in Managua, Nicaragua and the Museum of Fine Arts in Komsomolsk- na- Amur in Russia. * * *